It’s every single Tuesday & Thursday morning, no matter what. The clock goes off at 6:50am, there’s a very specific ritual that involves getting dressed, putting on a heart monitor, coffee, something to drink, airing up the tires, using the toilet and… for me… using an albuterol inhaler 15-20 minutes before heading out. The routine never changes. Once in a blue moon I somehow forget to strap on my heart monitor, and that’s really not fun because I don’t get a Strava “suffer” score. But today, I did worse. Somehow I forgot to use the inhaler. Which means, in theory, my breathing is reduced.
Heading up Kings with Kevin & Kevin, I didn’t notice much difference, not at first. Pilot Kevin wasn’t going too fast, and younger Kevin seemed OK with that. For a while. I was hanging in nicely while the two of them were in casual cruise mode but on the steep part after the big hairpin and before the wide open clearing, younger Kevin picked up the pace, going from 250 watts, which I was able to keep up with, to just over 300. It didn’t take too long before I blew. They rode away from me at what looked like a rapidly-accelerating pace, such that any chance of recovering and making up some ground quickly went away.
At the top I found out that yes, younger Kevin just kept on pushing things, dropping Pilot Kevin and motoring on strongly. I was fine across Skyline, and even helped keep the pace up on West Old LaHonda, although still about 30 seconds slower for that segment than my solo ride on Tuesday. Nevertheless I paid for it, gasping for air pretty seriously towards the end.
So yes, I now have proof that I’m much better off with Albuterol than without.